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  • Writer's pictureupstagecenterpa

Dancing through life

Updated: Jan 5, 2021

Pandemic or no - staying active is important. So many businesses and schools have transitioned to virtual due to COVID-19 which is AH-Mazing. This shift also creates a greater need for us to get up and move. We are in a bit of conundrum - safety is a #1 concern due to COVID; we also want our kids (and ourselves) to have a sense of normalcy and continue or return to their hobbies/activities.

Now that school has started for most children either virtual, in person, or a hybrid. Exercise for children (and everyone) has been an important topic for a while. As children sit in front of screens for school, it is now more important than ever. Virtual school days are at least 6 hours - most of the time is spent in front of a computer. In our Kids Virtual Learning Academy, I have seen creative efforts to kids up and moving - including virtual PE. We also incorporated brain breaks, morning stretch, and outdoor play into the day of our scholars.

But...let's be honest, virtual learning is not the same. Social interaction is a critical part of learning. As dance students what their favorite part of a class is and they will say - seeing my friends. What did they miss the most? Seeing their friends!

As dance schools begin opening their doors, we understand parents asking "is it safe to go back?" Since most dance studio owners are also parents, and we call our students "our family", we empathize with your concern. Many dance studios are now transitioning back from virtual lessons to in-person classes. as well as hybrid options. Studio owners are looking to re-connect with their students, help them continue their training as well as bridge any gaps that may have happened with dancing online.

Initially, for many UCPA returning to in-person classes and performances after months of quarantine was both exciting and scary. However, knowing they were returning to their dance studio family—a second home for many of them—made the transition much easier. The outdoor recital not only lifted dancers' spirits but also successfully eased them back into attending social gatherings.

For the foreseeable future in our studio, class capacity is limited to 8. Acrobatic classes are limited to 6. We have a grid of boxes on the floor for social distancing. We wear masks. We take temperatures. We have a separate entrance and exit points. We use hand sanitizer. We disinfect between classes. Personal props bags. Wipe down the common touch areas. Y'all - it is a lot. We are willing to take all these steps - and more - because there are students who need to be back in the studio - to see their teacher, their friends, have a mirror.

For every class, we also have a virtual option. Students can switch to virtual lessons at any time or sign up exclusively for virtual. Private lessons also allow students to be in the studio and receive feedback.

There are options. We are ready to meet you where you are. Not sure? Ask for a safety tour. Can you visit the studio while there are no classes and walk through the protocols. Maybe the studio has a video available for a virtual tour of their safety procedures.

While the future still remains uncertain and restrictions could go back into place at moment’s notice, our team at Upstage Center of Performing Arts is staying positive, confident in our ability to adapt to the changing times, and do whatever it takes to keep their dancers safe - and moving.

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